A bylaw aimed at expanding the services Metro Vancouver provides to municipalities has received unanimous support from White Rock council.
The civic politicians voted in favour of the Greater Vancouver Regional District Pan-Municipal Affairs Service Establishment Bylaw at their last official council meeting, Nov. 14.
If adopted by Metro, it will enable the regional district to provide services of pan-municipal interest that they currently can’t offer, such as convene dialogues, public outreach and consultations on matters of mutual interest. As well, it will be able to retain legal, policy or technical experts to advise on special projects relating to policing, culture and ports in the region – all services that don’t currently fall under the board’s mandate.
City manager Peggy Clark told council that when such issues have arisen in the past, the lead and financial burden has often fallen to one or two municipalities.
If adopted, the bylaw will allow Metro to spend up to $200,000 annually on pan-municipal affairs services, and a maximum of $250,000 per year on special projects. For White Rock, the annual cost would be about $3,375 and part of the GVRD levy, Clark said.
According to a list of frequently asked questions composed by Metro, the bylaw will not result in a significant expansion of service.
“The board’s intention is to encourage more discussion of issues of regional interest, as it did during the June 2011 Sustainability Congress,” the answer states, noting Metro’s core services will still be drinking water, sewerage and drainage.
Coun. Lynne Sinclair said she was surprised to suddenly have something like the bylaw be put to council.
“I always find it rather interesting that something of this nature plops down on the table for us to decide. I have more questions than answers,” she said.
Metro is to consider the bylaw’s final adoption Friday.